Maria forecast to strengthen
AT 2 P.M. THE centre of Tropical Storm Maria was located near 13.6°N, 56.9°W at or about 170 miles (320 km) east of Barbados.
The system is moving west-north-westward near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this motion with a further reduction in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On this present track, the centre is expected to pass approximately 120 miles to the north of Barbados Monday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts and further strengthening is forecast. Maria is forecast to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the Leeward Islands. Minimum central pressure was 994 mb or 29.36 inches.
Feeder bands have been generating periods of rain, pockets of moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms, some of which have already started to spread across the island.
As a consequence, a flood-warning is in effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow, Monday, September 18. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125 mm) are likely. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
Sustained wind-speeds of 29 to 35 mph (46 to 56 km/h) with gusts to storm force can also be expected. These conditions are expected to persist into Monday.
In addition, large easterly swells of at least 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system.
A buoy to the north of Barbados has already reported a maximum wave height of 3.7m (12 ft).
Hence, a High-Surf Advisory and Small-Craft Warning remain in effect until 12:00 noon Tuesday, September 19. (PR)